A social chameleon in Project Delivery Fast Stream

Emily Bentley tells her reasons why she chose Project Delivery Fast Stream.



I guess I would describe myself as a bit of a social chameleon. I am a Cambridge alumni with a council estate upbringing; an introvert blessed or cursed with 5 siblings; and a logic loving maths graduate who decorates cakes as a creative outlet. As my time at university drew to a close and the working world began to beckon, I knew I needed a job that would engage with and build on my diverse interests and experiences.

Being brought up on a council estate meant that the social issues facing the poorest in the UK, often misrepresented by the media, were my reality until I left for university. This had instilled in me an assurance that I wanted a socially oriented job which was, in some way, seeking to improve the day to day lives of real people. Obviously the Civil Service Fast Stream meets this criteria without a shadow of a doubt. Governmental administration sets the framework that people live their lives within, be that with regard to welfare, justice, transport or health. But once I had decided that I was interested in the Fast Stream more broadly, there was then the question of choosing a specific stream.

Personally, I approached this decision by retrospectively looking at my internships, voluntary experience and hobbies and trying to ascertain if there was a common theme to the activities and tasks I have found most rewarding. It quickly became apparent that most things I have done have involved either leading a project or being part of a project team.

From Project Jubilee; leading a team to organise a celebration event attend by 100 people on a budget of £500, to Project Restoration; reviewing and updating the Local Offer Family Information Services Website for my Local council. My love for projects even infiltrates into my baking in the form of Project Minion; constructing a Despicable Me cake for my youngest brother's birthday!

It dawned on me that in some way, regardless of the context, I enjoy the process of seeing something through from start to finish, of coordinating separate skills and expertise to create an outcome beyond the capabilities of a single individual and of having an outcome which is tangible and can be learnt from.

The Project Delivery Fast Stream seemed to me to be a wonderful combination of project based work with a social orientation. I am most looking forward to being a part of some of the largest and most complex projects being taken on by any organisation worldwide. The Government Major Projects Portfolio contains 200 governmental projects with a total whole life cost of around £500 billion; this is project management on a colossal scale!

Initially these figures and the prospect of a professional city job was quite intimidating for me, as both of my parents have spent most of their lives working in grassroots voluntary projects. Hence the support offered by a personally appointed cohort leader and the fast stream community more broadly was really significant in influencing my decision to apply.

I will be starting my job in October working for the Ministry of Justice, who are doing some large scale work on prison reformation and shortening court processes and procedures. I am looking forward to the challenges and rewards that lie ahead, with the full assurance of a supportive network and many opportunities for professional development.

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